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What is an H-3 Visa?

The H-3 nonimmigrant visa category allows noncitizens coming temporarily to the United States as either a:

  • Trainee to receive training in any field of endeavor, other than graduate medical education or training, that is not available in the noncitizen’s home country; or
  • Special Education Exchange Visitor to participate in a special education exchange visitor training program that provides for practical training and experience in the education of children with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities.

Obtaining an H-3 Visa as a “Trainee”

To be eligible for an H-3 visa, the noncitizen must be invited by a U.S. employer or organization to participate in a training program, and the program must be for the benefit of the trainee. The training can be in any field, including but not limited to, agriculture, commerce, communications, finance, government, transportation, and the sciences.

This classification is not intended for U.S. employment.  It is designed to provide a noncitizen with job-related training for work that will ultimately be performed outside the United States.

In order to obtain H-3 classification, a U.S. employer or organization must demonstrate that:

  • The proposed training is not available in the noncitizen’s native country;
  • The noncitizen will not be placed in a position which is in the normal operation of the business and in which U.S. citizens and resident workers are regularly employed;
  • The noncitizen will not engage in productive employment unless such employment is incidental and necessary to the training; and
  • The training will benefit the noncitizen in pursuing a career outside the United States.

 Each H-3 petition for a trainee must include a statement that:

  • Describes the type of training and supervision to be given, and the structure of the training program;
  • Sets the proportion of time that will be devoted to productive employment;
  • Shows the number of hours that will be spent, respectively, in classroom instruction and in on –the-job training;
  • Describes the career abroad for which the training will prepare the noncitizen;
  • Indicates the reasons why such training cannot be obtained in the noncitizen’s country and why it is necessary for the noncitizen to be trained in the United States; and
  • Indicates the source of any remuneration received by the trainee and any benefit which will accrue to the employer/organization for providing the training.

A training program may not be approved which:

  • Deals in generalities with no fixed schedule, objectives or means of evaluation;
  • Is incompatible with the nature of the petitioner’s business or enterprise;
  • Is on behalf of a foreign nationals who already possess substantial training and expertise in the proposed field of training;
  • Is in a field in which it is unlikely that the knowledge or skill will be used outside the United States;
  • Will result in productive employment beyond that which is incidental and necessary to the training;
  • Is designed to recruit and train foreign nationals for the ultimate staffing of domestic operations in the United States;
  • Does not establish that the petitioner has the physical plant and sufficiently trained manpower to provide the training specified; or
  • Is designed to extend the total allowable period of practical training previously authorized a nonimmigrant student.

Obtaining an H-3 Visa as a “Special Education Exchange Visitor”

A limited number of H-3 “special education exchange visitor” are available each year and must be filed by a facility which has professionally trained staff and a structured program for providing education to children with disabilities, and for providing training and hands-on experience to participants in the special education exchange visitor program. 

H-3 Term

The H-3 visa is a nonimmigrant visa category, which means it is for temporary admission to the United States. The maximum length of stay on an H-3 visa is 2 years, and extensions may be granted in increments of up to 2 years. It is important to note that the H-3 visa is intended for individuals who are coming to the U.S. to receive training that is not available in their home country, and not for individuals who are coming to work or engage in any other type of employment. The trainee must be able to demonstrate that they will return to their home country after the training period is over.

H-3 Dependents

The dependents (spouse and unmarried minor children) of an H-3 visa holder are eligible to apply for an H-4 visa. This means they can accompany the H-3 visa holder to the United States while they are participating in their training program. H-4 visa holders are not authorized to work in the United States, but they can engage in study. It is important to note that the length of stay for H-4 dependents is tied to the length of stay for the H-3 visa holder, and they must depart the United States when the H-3 visa holder’s visa expires.

Preparing an H-3 nonimmigrant petition

  1. Identify the training program: The U.S. employer or organization must first identify the training program that the foreign national will be participating in, and provide a detailed description of the program, its purpose, and the qualifications of the trainee.
  2. Gather supporting documents: The U.S. employer or organization must gather supporting documents to submit along with a Form I-129 petition. This may include proof of the U.S. employer’s business and financial status, proof of the trainee’s qualifications, and a description of the training program.
  3. Pay the filing fee and submit the petition: The U.S. employer or organization must submit the completed Form I-129, supporting documents, and filing fee to USCIS. NOTE: The petition should not be filed more than six months prior the commencement of the program.
  4. USCIS will review the petition and make a decision.
  5. Once USCIS issues the approval, the applicant needs to schedule a visa interview appointment at their nearest U.S. Embassy or U.S. Consulate to obtain their H-3 visa.

The H-3 trainee visa offers a special chance for people to obtain training in the United States in their subject of choice. But the application procedure might be difficult and perplexing. Our Houston-based immigration lawyers have the skills and experience required to help you navigate the application process and secure an H-3 visa. We are dedicated to provide dependable, individualized solutions to support you in achieving your professional objectives in the United States. To arrange a consultation and find out how we can help you with your H-3 trainee visa application, get in touch with us right now.

If you are in need of a US work visa or permanent residency, speak with one of our immigration lawyers. Please contact us online, call our Houston business immigration attorney office directly at 713-953-7787, or schedule a consultation.